Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Josh and I (mostly Josh) consume about two loaves of bread per week, so in order to avoid repeated trips to the grocery store every week, I buy 6-8 loaves at a time and just freeze them. We started wondering a couple months ago if it would be cheaper to start baking our own bread instead, and we decided to go for it. Thus, the purchase of the Kitchenaid, which is something I've wanted for a long time anyway, and we also bought the grain mill attachment to go with it. However, we heard from many people that even with the 475-watt motor our mixer has, grinding wheat may tax it too strongly, so Josh bought a Nutrimill grain mill to grind our wheat instead.
All of that is fine and well, except now our quest to make cheap homemade bread has cost us more than $500. We'll consider it a good investment, though, if we find the perfect appliance combination and I become a successful bread-maker. And we haven't used either wheat grinder yet so we can return one, so tell me...what's your take? Which would you keep and why? What have you heard about the Kitchenaid attachment, or Nutrimill, or both?
In the meantime, I bought some wheat flour from the store so I could at least start practicing the actual bread baking. And that leads me to my next question...what bread recipe is the best? We'd like to find something similar to or better than the Harper's bread we eat right now. The ingredient list for that bread is: 100% Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Honey, Soybean Oil, Salt, Yeast. That's it. The bread bag obviously doesn't list quantities, so I looked around online for a recipe and found this one, which I'm going to try out tomorrow; that is, unless all y'all have THE PERFECT bread recipe to share with me.
So let's have it - recommendations for grain mills and wheat bread recipes - I'm open to all feedback and suggestions. Thanks!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I realized it again last night. And I have the worst kind. This is why...
I got a call yesterday afternoon from someone in the ward asking if I could take a meal to a family where the mother just had surgery. Sure, no problem. I had never met these people and thought it'd be a good opportunity to do so. So I loaded up Grayson last night and we headed out through the snow to the address I was given. My heart sank when we drove into the circle of the overbuilt, brand-new homes in our ward boundaries, and I found myself getting quite annoyed that here I was - basically a single mother during this and last week while Josh worked from 7am-9pm every day (including Saturday and Sunday), taking quite a bit of time out of my VERY busy week trying to get all holiday-related things accomplished before we leave town Wednesday - taking dinner to a family that seemed to have so much more than we do. The husband opened the door to a room filled with beautiful furniture and a tv that nearly consumed the entire wall of their immaculate home, and I wanted to know why I, the woman whose family lives on as little as possible in order to save all extra money for the 'house fund', had prepared a dinner for these people that didn't seem to need it.
I was so frustrated I didn't bother to ask their names or engage their little boy in conversation. I just dropped the meal off and said I'd return later for the pan. Then I left. Even worse, I saw the mom come walking into the room through a window while I drove away and I recognized her. She's very stylish and always dressed to the nines, and has a son to match just a few months younger than Grayson. As I drove home I stewed about how she probably gets to take her baby to Relief Society every Sunday while I pass mine off to anyone available so I can go to Primary. I pulled into our still snow-covered driveway and sighed as I realized the husband had probably snow-blowed their driveway and walks while I was cooking for his family only to have to shovel my own drive when I got home or wait for Josh to do it later that night when he was finally done working.
I could see I was on a pretty bad downward spiral and it felt completely opposite to this, which is what I preferred, so I asked God to please help me feel the spirit of the Christmas season instead of all my bitterness. Because God is so nice to me even though I'm not always nice to His other children, He made me remember something I had heard once about pride looking up instead of down. A quick search led me right to the source:
"Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. (See 2 Ne. 9:42.) There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous."
President Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 4
Jealousy a form of pride? Guilty as charged. I contemplated ways to eliminate (or at the very least, lessen) my jealousy, and in the end decided to make a list of 50 things I've been blessed with that I am grateful for, regardless if others have them or not.
It worked. In making that list I realized how much God does love me and my little family. Josh and I have wanted for nothing since we married, and we're able to save a substantial amount of money every month, putting us in a better financial position than many find themselves right now. Grayson has everything he needs, as do we. Our time to own a home will come soon enough, and in the meantime we've been very lucky with the homes we've rented and the areas in which we've lived. Josh's job is secure - a luxury in the present economic circumstances for many - and it allows me to stay home with our son. We've been able to put a lot of resources into preparing for our future needs because we've been so blessed with our present ones. Life is so much better when you forget to compare yourself to others. Hey, typing that line just made me think of a line in a poem I read long along and loved enough that I pasted a copy into my scriptures:
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This is the final installment of my 'latest' trilogy. It's "The latest on Mormons" because there's been so much happening spiritually with the holiday season. On Grayson's 10-month birthday we went to a live Nativity the singles ward in our stake put on. It was so beautiful and Grayson loved it! He 'oohs' now when he sees something fascinating, and he did it throughout the presentation.Our ward had its Christmas party on December 5 and Grayson and I went to it with our neighbors, Bill and Kit, since Josh was traveling to southern Utah to work.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
We had loads of fun while she was here. She's a very generous little girl. We went to Wendy's for lunch one day and she was nice enough to give Grayson the toy when I wouldn't let her share the fries. And she was insistent that we make cupcakes for all the cousins she was going to see over the weekend when she left my house to go to another aunt's. So we headed to the store in search of the perfect sprinkles and we found them! She helped mix the batter and pour it into the tins, and when the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I frosted and she sprinkled. They were super yummy and tons of fun to make together. I sure do love that girl.My folks came up that same weekend for Christy and Brett's wedding and stayed with us. Grayson couldn't get enough of all the attention, lucky kid. We met Maryann and her girls at the reception and everyone came back to our house for a quick game of Golf. We went for a walk the next morning, met Maryann's family for breakfast at IHOP (my first time there - it was good, but not good enough that I'll go back), came home, went to a neighbor's boutique, then my parents left that afternoon. Poor Grayson looked so confused after having been entertained by first Hailey and then Grandma and Grandpa, it almost made me want another baby just so he'd have a permanent playmate.
My parents also came up the following weekend for the BYU/Utah game and we all got together again. We played games Friday night at Don and Holly's, but having learned our lesson the week before, Josh and I had everyone over for breakfast Saturday morning at our house instead of going out. We made waffles, cinnamon and orange rolls, OJ and scrambled eggs. Mmm mmm good! Definitely more fun and much cheaper than IHOP.
After breakfast we cleaned off the kid's table so they could draw. I gave them some paper, stickers, and markers, and soon the big game's excitement crept into their artwork:
Hailey predicted the Utes would win because according to her calculations, there were more people cheering for them than for the Y. Josh and I have the luxury of not really favoring one team over the other, but I gravitate more toward the Utes because of my brother, and Josh gravitates more toward the Y because...well, all good Mormons cheer for the Cougars, right? So we purposefully dressed Grayson in a non-partisan onesie to show our support for both teams. (Sorry Don, but sometimes sacrifices such as this must be made in order to preserve harmony in a dual-faith household.)
The last thing I'll share with you today is the video I started taking of Grayson climbing up Don and Holly's stairs. Hunter and Hailey were playing at the top and Grayson started heading up there to join them, but his pants were falling down and making him slip, so Josh went in to pull them up. Right when he did so, Hailey tumbled down the stairs and straight into Grayson. Thankfully Josh's presence broke her fall for the most part and Gray only fell off one step. It didn't hurt him, though, and everyone was okay. Whew!
Monday, December 8, 2008
November was a bad month to miss picture-wise. That was the month Grayson started standing by himself, both when we let go of him and when he chose to let go on his own. He's gotten really good at balance-checking himself, and already walks all over the house while holding on to objects. No 'real' steps though! We tried taking pictures and videoing it, but as soon as we catch his eye, he's down on all fours and makes a beeline for the camera.
Grayson perfected waving and saying 'bah' (bye) when Josh leaves for work in the mornings and will do it about 75% of the time when others leave and we prompt him. It's very cute because he waves his hand reversed so he's actually waving goodbye to himself (or beckoning others to come, depending on how you interpret it).
Grayson also started 'kissing' us regularly last month. It's so funny to watch him study our puckered lips and then see his interpretation of what we're doing. Here are his first attempts on November 2:It's absolutely disgusting but adorable at the same time. See how Josh is pulling away in the second pic? Let's just say that so far I'm the only one foolish or slow enough to catch some of Grayson's excess saliva in my mouth and on my face.
Grayson is back to teething again. I don't know why it takes so long for me to figure out what alla his extra drool and fussiness means, but by the time I do the tip of the tooth has usually broken through. Case in point - four days ago I declared, "He must be teething." I checked and voila! there it is, his lower left lateral. Duh, Mom.
There's been a lot more going on around here, but I'll have to save it for tomorrow because I have some homework to get done before I go to my last class of the semester tonight. Yay me!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
- Grew to 19.5 pounds, 28 inches
- Started cutting his lower laterals
- Enjoyed his first Thanksgiving dinner, including turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie
- Offered up his room to guests three times!
- Learned to climb stairs
- Stood without support
- Decided he'd rather eat books than read them
- Had his first taste of waffles and ice cream (don't worry Dad, it was vanilla)
- Celebrated another wedding with us - congrats Brett & Christy!
- Watched the Utah football team go undefeated - congrats Don!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Recap: He didn't fall asleep until almost 10pm. Woke up around 12:30am. I fed him, but instead of falling asleep again, he was WIDE awake. Put him in his crib to play. Wailed like he was on fire for the next 10 minutes. Took him out of crib to settle him down, but he refused comforting. Even me singing Primary songs didn't help, and it usually does. After Josh and I danced around the situation in a similar manner for almost an hour, we finally ended up putting our screaming baby in his crib and ignoring him. We were both so exhausted that we fell asleep despite the noise, and neither of us has any idea how long he cried before passing out, but I know it was at least 8 minutes. He woke up again just after 6am and and was ready for the day. What the??
...for an already wonderful husband to become even better? Josh really stepped up his game the last couple of weeks and I'm in heaven! I just hope the small things I try to do to make his life better make him feel as loved as he makes me feel. Recap: Remember the group presentation we're giving tonight on bankruptcy? Well, the dreamy guest speaker I lined up forgot about parent-teacher conferences (she teaches 5th grade) this week, so is unavailable to come to my class. No worries, because she's awesome and agreed to let me videotape her instead. Well, the 5-10 minute interview ended up being 21 minutes long and I needed to cut it down. Between finding the program to get the video off our camcorder and onto my hard drive for editing, finding a conversion program to make it editable, and finding an editing program that wouldn't drop the audio, he spent about 10 hours over the last two days helping me. Top it all off with the dinner he made us last night plus cleaning up the entire kitchen (including hand washing and drying all of the flatware), and I wonder why he's not yet been translated.
...for me to actually enjoy my Primary class so much I'm going to miss being their teacher next year? I've been teaching Primary for a year now, and I've had this same group of nine 5- and 6-year-olds since January 1. It's hard sometimes. Between 7 and 9 kids come each week, and I've been a solo teacher since my partner got upgraded to the presidency August 3. Which reminds me, I never posted the pic I took of the thank you card we made for her - it was so fun!
Anyway, our annual Primary program was yesterday, and I don't know who was more pleased with my kids - me or their parents. I had eight there, and they all did such a good job with their parts and singing the songs. I teared up twice during the program and again during our lesson when I thanked them all for working so hard and doing so well. They really are such good kids. I get a little sad that I'm only going to be their teacher for five more weeks, but it will be fun to meet some more children in the ward and get to know and love them as well.
...for Christmas to be right around the corner? After this presentation is done tonight and our paper submitted this Saturday, I need to get serious about decorating. I debated putting up a tree, and am going to go ahead with it, but instead of nice glass (and breakable) ornaments, I'm going to ask my nieces and nephews to help me make something like these. It will be fun, it will create precious memories, and Grayson will be able to go to town on the tree without getting put in time out. Win-win-win!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
(A little long, so I'd watch only the first 45 secs)
November 4, 2008 - Mating socks
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
2. I am not going to put music on my blog (60% of you are anti-).
3. I'm not the only one that hated Michelle Obama's dress last night, and my husband is not the only one that thought she looked pregnant.
Poor McCain lost this election because of the distaste people have for W. and that idiot side-kick he chose as his running mate (ironic that the one thing I respect about Palin are her views on abortion). Now we all just have to hope that Obama will deliver on all that he promised. The good news is the Republicans can win either way: 1) Obama delivers, the country thrives and is happy, international relations soar - win for everyone! 2) Obama fails to deliver, people hate him as much as Bush, Republicans guaranteed the White House in 2012. And as a bonus to all you Utahns, I think Romney would be able to take Palin in a debate.
One thing's for certain, though. Anyone that's willing to be president during times like these deserves our utmost respect. Shall we give it to him, or shall we cut off our nose to spite our face?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
- Grew to 18 pounds, 9 ounces and 27 3/4 inches
- Started saying 'mama' and 'dada' when respectively hitting us - we think he really understands!
- Started taking a few steps while holding on to objects
- Finished growing two more top teeth
- Decided he loves eating Cheerios, blueberries, and raw red potatoes
- Fed himself small bites of food (it's so cute to see his little fingers work so hard)
- Got his first fever and rash, sending us to the pediatrician for Grayson's first sick visit
- Started climbing up on things to reach forbidden items
- Watched Pyper get blessed
- Wore his first band-aid (those little paper cuts sure do bleed!)
- Dressed up for his first Halloween (but no trick-or-treating yet)
- Followed me all over the house, helping me vacuum, sweep, fold laundry, and shred paper
Monday, October 27, 2008
So what's with the post title? Well, I might need your help and it has to do with bankruptcy.
My Philosophy class this semester is an 'Ethics & Values' class, and our grade requires the completion of a major group project. My group's assignment is to present arguments for and against the ethics of filing bankruptcy. We would LOVE to have guest speakers address our class - tell their story and take questions from the class - but none of us knows anyone that is able AND willing to do it.
This is where you come in. I'm looking for someone that can spend two hours on Monday evening, November 24, in a Lehi Junior High classroom talking about one of the following:
- Their decision to file bankruptcy, how they came to make it, and how it's impacted their life since filing;
- Their decision NOT to file bankruptcy although they had been considering it, how they came to make it, and how paying the debt has impacted their life;
- Their current financial situation, why it has presented bankruptcy as an option, and the reasons they have for or against filing.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
My mom's a hottie! Too bad I look like a train wreck. And I don't think I was a big baby, but I look huge compared to my little Grayson.
And just so Josh doesn't feel left out and lonely because there aren't any pics of him in this post, I am now going to dissect Grayson's personality. Following is a list of various traits Grayson has, in no particular order, and which of us I think donated them.
- Freakishly short second toe. I know this is a physical trait, but I have never seen someone whose second toe was shorter than the big toe as well as the third toe. And it's barely tied in length to the fourth toe. Sometimes I wonder why he's able to balance so well standing. Josh's sister told me a grandfather or uncle had the same weird toe.
- Our silly baby thrives on minimal sleep. He doesn't get that from this sleeping beauty.
- Speaking of sleep, Grayson is a light sleeper and will wake at the quietest noises. It drives me crazy about Josh, too.
- Grayson has an obsession with electronics. He's playing with a mouse right now, with Josh's phone charger at his feet and the external hard drive on its side from him crawling on it. He heads straight for the mess of cords and routers under Josh's desk when he comes into the office, and he had a meltdown yesterday when I wouldn't let him pull on the printer cord. There's no question where his inner geek comes from.
- Grayon shies away from PDA, just like his daddy.
- Grayson will eat pretty much anything with little or no complaint, something I really appreciate about Josh.
- Now that both the top middle teeth are in, Grayson grinds them against the bottom ones. He gets this from my mom and my brother.
- Grayson hates getting dressed, and seems to despise clothes in general. He's just plain happier when he's naked. Definitely comes from yours truly.
- Grayson is a social bug. Forget eating or napping if there are people around to look at or play with. Cards, anyone?
- Grayson isn't very good at taking naps. Neither is this mommy.
- Grayson gets a big grin when he hears people talk. He loves the phone and he likes to jabber with me. Josh is relatively quiet, so even though he's always on the phone for work, I'm going to take this one as mine.
- Grayson lunges for my Nalgenes and nearly drowns himself trying to get a drink of water. Been there, done that.
- We've recently discovered that Grayson is a real whiner when he's sick. In the rare event that I don't feel well, everyone knows about it.
- Grayson takes every opportunity to get his hands dirty and play with the houseplants.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So what say ye, the masses? You have one week to weigh in. Wait...considering the length of time that passes between my posts, I'll give you until 9pm MST on Election Day to vote.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
McCain is a moron for choosing Palin as his running mate. She alone is going to cost him the election - she cost him my vote and others' votes as well. If only he'd had the courage to choose someone this country needs, and not someone he merely thought could get him elected, this campaign could be going in a much different direction. But I can't feel sorry for him because this is what he chose, and if his desire to be elected outweighed his desire to find the best running mate, so be it. He doesn't deserve the presidency. Please don't give it to him.
But more important, please don't give it to her.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
- Grew to 18 pounds and 27 1/4 inches long
- Cut two more teeth with another two close behind
- Got his first professional pictures taken
- Learned to sit up by himself, then...
- Promptly decided it's more fun to pull himself up to stand than to merely sit around
- Helped Josh and I celebrate our 3rd anniversary
- Changed his babbling to variations of 'da-dah-duh-da', much to Josh's joy and my dismay
- Welcomed any food I put into his mouth *except* peas
- Watched his friend, Kimball, get blessed
- Impressed Grandma with his 'horn-honking' skills
- Attended his first ward campout (but we didn't camp)
- Actively cheered the Bomber Babes to yet another victory
- Ate his first tomato
I think my favorite thing about Grayson right now is that he loves shaking his hands. No matter what he's holding, he will continually shake it up and down like a mad man. It can be paper, a washcloth, a measuring tape, a rattle, a magazine, a bottle, a toy, a shirt, a tomato...you get the idea. And he'll even clasp his hands together and shake them for a spell without holding anything at all. The best part about it is this little grin he gets when he's doing it because he's just enjoying himself so much. And when he notices you're watching him, he tops it all off with the cutest smile. Melts my heart every time. I need to get it on video before he stops doing it.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Fast forward two months and we find Grayson working really hard on getting those uppers. In addition to the constant salivating and chewing on everything he can get his hands on, he's had a runny nose and been very needy, fussy, and just plain sad. Teething tablets have become the norm at our house and I give him the occasional dose of baby Tylenol when things are really bad.
Thankfully, we're 1/2 of the way done with this round of misery. His left middle top tooth finally broke through about a week ago and a corner of the tooth to its left has already come through, but he's still working on the upper right middle tooth. I put him back in that same outfit today for a comparison shot but he doesn't let me poke at his face or mouth anymore, so I couldn't get a good picture of alla the nonsense that's going on inside his mouth. But you can see the tooth that has come all the way in when he smiles - so cute! But how sad to see how much older he looks now than he did just two months ago. Stop growing up!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Josh: So dreamy. Hard worker. Recession-proofing his place in the workforce. Gives great back-scratches and is always willing to run last-minute errands for me. Love that man.
Me: In order to re-apply to the dental hygiene program (Fall 2009) I have to be a current student by next February. In order to be a current student by then, I had to take a class this semester or Spring semester. So guess who's taking yet another class? Yepper. Luckily, I found a Philosophy class that meets only one evening per week in Lehi, so I don't have to drive all the way down to the main UVU campus in Orem. The bad news is that this class is ONLY required of UVU grads, so if I don't go to school there, it will have been a waste of 600 bucks and an entire semester. But hey, that's life, right?
Grayson: I need him to stop growing up again. There are just too many times I look at him and realize how quickly he's become his own person and while he brings me so much joy, it also brings a tear to my eye. I just want him to stay little forever. He's really begun cruising on all fours and started pulling himself up on me, boxes, planters, etc. this last week. In the last four days he's gotten two bruises on his forehead, a bruise on his cheek, and a scratch on the bottom of his foot (how??). If I didn't know any better, I'd think his daddy beat him. He LOVES food and recently began eating every 2-3 hours instead of every 3-4. I seriously considered nixing the whole nursing bit because it really wears on me, but I'm just too cheap to switch to formula. He still gets up at least once in the middle of the night, so I'm glad we had a couple of interruption-free months while they lasted.
Josh used to call these Grayson's "Elvis" jammies because the collar always folded up like that. They're too small to wear now. Sad!My silly baby doesn't like to sit IN the activity seat as much as he likes to crawl ON it. (I promise-promise he usually wears clothes - I'm not THAT lazy!)
Finally, I thought about sharing my complete lack of respect for John McCain for all my liberal friends, or maybe a beautiful YouTube video link Karynn sent me earlier for all my conservative friends, so in order to keep harmony in the universe, enjoy this little video instead:
Thursday, September 11, 2008
What a hit! People in the neighborhood were still talking about the party for days afterward. I took all of the ice cream bars and the few extra cartons to deliver to neighbors that couldn't make it. All in all, it was a huge success. Some random pics of the event:Grayson was such a champ during the party. He's a very social baby, and just loved being around all those people.